Friday, July 02, 2004

Illegal Activities

From a Republican? Schocking. From the campaign of Morris Meyer:

Voters in counties included in the new Texas 6th Congressional District were surprised to receive a newsletter and questionnaire this week from Congressman Joe Barton. Their surprise comes from the fact that Barton does not represent them at this time. He is running against Democrat Morris Meyer for the congressional seat in the new district. The winner will not be determined until the Nov. 2 election.

Barton’s present district includes parts of Tarrant, Ellis, Hill, and Johnson counties. However, his newsletter was also sent to voters in the new district who now are represented by Martin Frost, Jim Turner, and Chet Edwards.

The mailing was sent through Barton’s franking privilege available to him as a member of Congress. There is no stamp on the mailpiece, just his signature. Federal law specifically states that “members of Congress may not make any mass mailings outside of the district from which they are elected.” Not only did Barton use taxpayers’ money to pay for this mailing, he sent it to voters outside of his district.

“This is a continuing pattern of illegal and unethical behavior on the part of Joe Barton, whether it concerns campaign contributions or the proper conduct of a public official,” said Meyer.

“As a 20-year Congressman, Barton knows the rules pertaining to franking privileges,” Meyer continued. “He has used this to send campaign literature in the guise of an official government newsletter at the taxpayer’s expense to potential voters in areas that he does not presently represent.”

This new abuse comes on the heels of Meyer's request for an official investigation by Attorney General John Ashcroft into Barton's involvement in the Westar scandal.